Saturday, 21 May 2016

Surveys, Hares and an unseasonal sandpiper (16-21 May)

Saturday 21st. A late start at Shoreham Harbour where I arrived at 07:40. Up to 09:00 I saw 43 Gannets mostly flying east and 7 Sandwich Terns mostly going west. Hardly worth getting up for but a Purple Sandpiper feeding below the inner jetty made the visit worthwhile. When I saw what was probably this bird in late April it was my latest at this site but it still looked pretty much in winter plumage. Now it is showing some white and pale chestnut fringes on its upperparts making it altogether more attractive. Later a pair of Oystercatchers were chasing a crow from the roof of the warehouse by our allotment, possibly breeding there, and 4 Swifts were over the house early evening.

Purple Sandpiper at Shoreham Harbour
showing more colourful feathers than I am used to seeing in the winter
perhaps my best ever views of a feeding rather than roosting bird

Friday 20th. I needed to fit in a Woodcock Survey this week and the weather looked best on Friday. It was OK but perhaps a bit cold and breezy, not that the midges were at all bothered. I had just 5 Woodcock encounters between 20:57 and 21:48, one right overhead seen and heard was excellent, 2 were only seen and 2 only heard. Probably 2 birds involved. A Nightjar started calling just before 21:00 and showed well a couple of times while two others were heard across the heath. A Tawny Owl was quite vocal for a while but too far from my watchpoint to look for.  Earlier on another part of the heath I encountered BFF and OM and while chatting BFF picked up a Hobby flying over. On the way home a Badger ran across the road near Coates and a Tawny Owl flew by near Wiggonholt rounding off an enjoyable evening.
waiting for Woodcock at Lavington, kept company by midges
Thursday 19th. My second South Downs Farmland Survey visit to TQ0310, just west of the Burgh. The survey involves walking 2 sides of a triangle before returning along the third. While in the area I saw 2-3 Red Kites, a superb Hobby, 20 Grey and 5 Red-legged Partridges and single Lapwing, yellowhammer, Reed and Corn Buntings. About what I expected but still not a great deal although several Hares were superb. The Whimbrel seen on 15th was still present on the Adur at low tide as were 13 Ringed Plovers and 2 Dunlin while 3 Swifts were over our road in the evening.

one of several Hares
a real show stealer

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Grey Partridge

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Red Kite

expressive tail

Whimbrel still on the Adur
it had a very faded forehead
Wednesday 18th. Little was moving off Shoreham from 06:30 with just 7 Common Scoter and 8 Gannets in the 45 minutes I suck it out for. A North Thames Herring Gull V7TT was on the inner east arm, my first new colour-ring for a while. In the afternoon Megan and I visited 
Pulborough Brooks seeing Nightingale, single Grey and Ringed Plovers, 8 Black-tailed Godwits.

Nightingale at Pulborough

Tuesday 17th. Two Sandwich Terns off Hove.

Monday 16th. A single Swift over our road.

Friday, 20 May 2016

TRIP INDEX by year

TRIP INDEX – by year

The following lists chronological the foreign birding trips that I have done.  Also included are a few family trips to decent birding locations. In time I hope to 'blog' them all, and those that have been done are shown in bold with a link. All the older blogs use scanned slides (or digitised prints of varying quality). Some of the slides have degraded badly with age. Some blogs use photos take by those I was with (they are easy to tell as they are significantly better than mine). Most blogs are heavily reliant on my unreliable memories. They were initially done to find a 'home' for my old boxes of slides which I had not looked at for years. Doing these blogs has brought back many very happy memories, and a few sad ones - I’ve been very fortunate in having various like-minded friends, some no longer with us, whom I have usually been able to travel with.
Kagu, New Caledonia August 1998 (digitised print taken with an instamatic).  One of my all-time top 3 birds.  Giant Pitta (1987) and Wilson's Bird of Paradise (1993) are the others.
1974:  MAJORCA (October)
          brief mention in The 1970s: finding my feet - 1974 blog

1975:  CARMARGUE (May)
          included in The 1970s: Camargue, Shetland & Scillies in 1975 blog

1977:  MOROCCO (April)

             KENYA (December-January 1978)

1978:  THAILAND (December-January 1979)

1979:  ISRAEL (March/April)

            CANARIES (June/July)

             NEPAL (November-January 1980)

1980:  CANADA (May)

            THAILAND (December-January 1981)

1982: MALAYSIA (January/February)

            THAILAND (February)

            NEPAL (March/June)
          Jomson Trek

          Everest Trek

          Langtang Trek

            INDIA (June/July)


           VENEZUELA (December-February 1983)

1983:  KENYA (July/August)

1984:  PERU (July/August)

            BOTSWANA (December-January 1985) 


1985:  COSTA RICA (July/August)

1986:  AUSTRALIA (March/April)

           ECUADOR: July/August 1986

1987:  MALAYSIA (July/August) 

1988: THAILAND (March/April)
          BRAZIL (July/August)

1989:  ICELAND (June)               

1990:  ARGENTINA (August)

1991:  SOUTH AFRICA (August)

1992:  INDONESIA Sulawesi & Halmahera (August)

1993:  INDONESIA Irian Jaya (August)

1995:  MADAGASCAR (August)

1996:  PHILIPPINES (April)

            NEW ZEALAND (August)   

1997:  VIETNAM (March/April)     

1998:  AUSTRALIA & NEW CALEDONIA (July/August)


1999:  ECUADOR (August/September)


2000:  CHINA Quinghai (June)


           GAMBIA (November)

2002:  CHILE (April)

2003:  JAPAN (January)

           CAMEROON (April)

2004:  CUBA (April)

           PAPUA NEW GUINEA (June)

2005:  TEXAS (Aprill)

           INDONESIA Sumatra & West Java (July)

2006:  PAPUA NEW GUINEA (August)

2007:  INDIA Eaglenest (April)          

2008:  PHILIPPINES (April)

           NAMIBIA (July/August)

2009:  VIETNAM (April)

          Cat Tien & Da Lat plateau

2010:  CHINA (May/June)
          Shanghai (Spoon-billed Sandpiper), Wuishan, Fuzhou & Xiaolongmen

          Xi’an & Yangxian (Crested Ibis)

          Pingtai (Jankowski’s Bunting)

            UGANDA (June)
          Mbamba (Shoebill), Kibale (Green-breasted Pitta) & Bwindi (African Green Broadbill)

2011:  ETHIOPIA (February)

           TAIWAN (April/May)

2012:  TURKEY (June)


          Nemrut Dagi

            MALAYSIA Sarawak & Sabah (July/August)
          Kuching, Kinabatangan River, Danum Valley, Sepilok and Mount Kinabalu

2013:  CORSICA (May)

            INDONESIA West Papua (August)

2014:  SPAIN Extremadura (April)

           COLOMBIA (July/August)

2015:  ECUADOR (January/February)
            ARIZONA (April/May)
            INDONESIA (August)
           BRAZIL (September/October)

2016:  CALIFORNIA (January)
            MEXICO (February/March)
           just blogged

Sunday, 15 May 2016

Knepp 15 May: Turtle Doves but for how much longer?

Sunday 15th. An enjoyable walk around the southern section of the Knepp Estate where bird song was at a level rarely heard locally. Highlights were up to 4 Turtle Doves (2 purring loudly), 2 Cuckoos, Nightingale (heard only), Lesser Whitethroat, 4 Garden Warblers and a Raven. Near West Mill Farm 2 Nightingales were singing (one flew across the track but the other remained hidden). A Cetti's Warbler was more obliging. At Woods Mill a silent Nightingale showed well and 2 more Cetti's were heard. In the afternoon a Whimbrel was on the Adur opposite the airfield.
Turtle Dove at Knepp. Perhaps the most reliable site for this species in West Sussex? Given how quickly they seemed to disappear from West Dean Woods it is hard to feel they are secure even here and opportunities to see them shouldn't be missed.
Cuckoo at Knepp
Black Rabbit
Canada Goose, one of  a pair looking a bit out of place in one of the more grassy fields
Greylag Goose
keep off my island
new (for me) motor, same old rubbish in the back
Robin at Woods Mill, not the only robin I'm hoping for this year
Whimbrel on the Adur
the remains of Southlands Hospital from our house. How much will still be standing next week?
Saturday 14th. Collected my car, seeing a Hobby just outside Shoreham on the way. Spent much of the rest of the day reading the manual and doing odd chores. Finding it hard to shake off post-pom depression! Three Swifts over the house in the evening.

Friday 13th. Two Swifts over the house in the evening.

Thursday 12th. Bought a replacement car. Later Megan and I walked along the Downs. Superb views and a Red Kite cruising east at Devils Dyke but otherwise just a single Corn Bunting seen. Five Swifts over the house in the evening.
Megan at Devil's Dyke trig point
Red Kite heading east
Southlands Hospital, going going ...
Wednesday 11th. Eight Swifts over the house in the evening.

Tuesday 10th. 23 Black-headed Gulls flew east as I was cycling home past Southwick Beach. Just two Swifts over the house in the evening.

Monday 9th. Three Swifts over the house in the evening.